I sat at my desk looking out over Horse Cove to the spring greening of the Fodderstacks when I noticed the distinct patterning of the dying cone shaped hemlocks. I was stunned at how many trees were dotting the landscape as far as I could see. Last year the hemlocks were still gallantly trying to put out new needles, and the Winter hid their fate among the other leaf bare trees, but this Spring the harsh reality of their demise could not be denied.

Later in the day, as the sky became brilliantly golden in the setting sun and the shadows turned shapes into shades of the Blue Ridge blues, I saw a lone hawk soaring over the cove and the Fodderstacks as if to bestow a blessing and I knew what I had to do. If I were a composer I would have written a requiem, but I am a painter and I wanted to say to the hemlock, "Thank you for your majestic being and you will not be forgotten."

When I finished the painting I listened again to the words of a song by Leonard Cohen called Nightingale, that mystic bird in tales from the East. His poem about the bird seemed to sum up what I was trying to say about the hemlock:


I built my house beside the wood
So I could hear you singing
And it was sweet, and it was good
And love was all beginning
Fair thee well my nightingale
'Twas long ago I found you
Now all your songs of beauty fail
The forest gathers round you
The sun goes down behind a veil
'Tis now when you would call me
So rest in peace my nightingale
Beneath your branch of holly
  Fair thee well my nightingale
I lived but to be near you
Though you are singing somewhere still
I can no longer hear you.

Acrylic on Canvas
48 x 48/ Triptych


East of the Sun, West of the Moon
Acrylic on Canvas
48 x 60 Gallery Wrap / Diptych